Keys to creative entrepreneurial success
Speakers in new DAAP series unveil secrets to thriving independently
Don’t let fear hinder your success!
Overcoming the dread of failure and gathering the courage to seek essential funding when starting your own business are just two of the takeaways from the inaugural discussion of the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP Creative Entrepreneurialism Lecture Series.
Held in July, the panel discussion brought together four women who have leveraged their creative education and careers into successful entrepreneurial ventures: Amy Tuttle, executive director at WordPlay Cincy; Sheryl Woodhouse, chief operating officer of Woodhouse & Co.; Jessica Hemmer, P&G Baby Care global design manager; and Stevi Carr, founder and CEO of WISe Wellness Guild.
"Failure, far from being a stumbling block, is a vital tool towards building a more innovative path when you learn what works and what doesn't. And don’t be afraid to seek financial support and mentorship during your initial stages," Woodhouse said. “Look for supportive partnerships. I realize that 95% of my success has been navigating relationship building and valuing creativity, which we, as a society, are moving more toward as a counterbalance to the tech boom.”
The panel's counsel echoed resoundingly: whether your ambitions are grand or humble, forging alliances and coalescing with the right partners, mentors or collaborators is the key to success.
Coordinated by Steve Doehler, a seasoned entrepreneur and professor in UC’s School of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), the lecture series is intended to illuminate not only the intricate path to self-employment, but also the value of creativity when segueing back into the corporate world.
Navigating success with savvy creativity
- Harmonizing artistry with business acumen: "I harnessed the essence of creative entrepreneurship not just to strengthen my artistic endeavors, but to enhance my music, my art, my narrative, my screenplay,” Woodhouse said. “The synergy between craftsmanship and business is profoundly gratifying when creating an organization that not only fosters employment but also nurtures art and design."
- Scaling from small venture to corporate titan: As a DAAP alumnus in fashion design and product development, Hemmer birthed her own design consultancy before ultimately carving her unique corporate niche at P&G. "Don’t get stuck in one place if the need to move up or down becomes strong,” she said. “The oscillation between entrepreneurship and working within a corporate colossus can surprisingly invigorate both realms."
- Elevating corporate skills for nonprofit victory: In her capacity as the executive director of WordPlay Cincy, Tuttle employs art as a catalyst for global community troubleshooting. "While we cherish and thrive on business skills in every facet of our careers, the realm of nonprofits, particularly, hinges on collaboration and unity,” she said. “I find the gap between corporate and nonprofit worlds narrowing more and more, especially around the notion of strategic partnerships and effective collaborative management."
- Embracing self-awareness: “Early on I couldn’t scale my business because I was afraid of being beholden to anyone by taking investment dollars,” Carr said. “After realizing I needed to heal this mindset and strip myself of this generational baggage I was unpacking, there was suddenly a huge shift, and my business grew by almost 300%. I then concentrated on the aspects I loved about my business and outsourced the things I didn’t want to do anymore.”
Panelists’ pearls of wisdom
As the panelists noted, business accelerator models that have helped tech companies get up and running are now being applied to musicians and artists. The Cincinnati Music Accelerator supports musicians in entrepreneurial endeavors, for example, and the Y Combinator that grew DropBox and AirBNB now assists artists.
For help taking your business from an idea to a startup, join UC’s Venture Lab pre-accelerator program for intensive guidance, mentorship and resources.
Unlocking the world of independent success through creative entrepreneurialism stands as a testament to the transformative potential within everyone armed with ingenuity and determination, the panelists concluded.
Featured image at top: Panel experts Sheryl Woodhouse, Stevi Carr, Amy Tuttle and Jessica Hemmer from the DAAP Creative Entrepreneurialism Lecture Series. Photo provided
Help for entrepreneurs
Through the 1819 Innovation Hub — UC’s front door to business — the University of Cincinnati connects corporations, small businesses and startup companies to a variety of business development services. Learn how to start, run and grow your business; build prototypes; test new business ideas and more.